Kanban vs Scrum


What is Kanban

In Kanban, the organization first needs to break work down into manageable chunks. Then the organization needs to split out the different stages that every chunk must go through, as well as defining what must happen in each stage before entering the next stage. For example, development needs to be complete and unit tested before a certain task can be passed off to quality assurance for testing. A single task must pass through each of the stages until it reaches the end, which is when the chunk of work has been completed. The key to task management here is that there will be a limit to the work in progress items that can be taken on in each stage. So, development may have a limit of 3 work in progress items. So, once the team has 3 in dev then everyone knows nothing else can be taken until they complete one.

This method allows clear knowledge and transparency of where each task is in the process on the way to completion, provides easy way to track how long work takes to get through the funnel, and makes it easy for the team to focus only on the work in progress.

What is Scrum

Scrum allows an organization to achieve continuous throughput of product development work by breaking large chunks of work down into small easy to manage and launch pieces. To do this, the team first must organize into small, cross-functional and self contained groups. Then, when there is product work that is large in scope the team will break it down into small concrete deliverables that can be worked individually. These chunks of work are then prioritized based on what needs to be completed first and what is critical for an MVP. Lastly, the team creates time-boxed development cycles and delivers chunks of the prioritized scope each cycle.

This provides myriad benefits compared with a large group spending a ton of time delivering massive scope.

Advantages of Scrum vs. Kanban


  • Predictability
  • Transparency
  • Quality
  • Continuous throughput
  • Frequent opportunities for reprioritization


  • Efficiency
  • Flexibility
  • Quality
  • Increased team focus
  • Reduction of waste

About Author

Co-founder of productmanagerclub.com, ex-Audible (Amazon), AmEx and TribalScale Product Management leader, currently living in Portugal leading product management of vertical expansion for automotive within OLX. Mike has built products and coached teams all over the world.

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